News archive

News archive

ESA Press Release nr. 64-2000. At its 147th meeting, held at the Agency's headquarters in Paris on 19 and 20 October, the ESA Council unanimously elected its new Director of Science for the next four years, Prof. David Southwood (UK), who takes over from Prof. Roger-Maurice Bonnet (F) on 1 May next year.
Published: 20 October 2000
A World Class Test in a World Class Facility for a World Class Observatory.In mid-October, a team from the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA will perform a difficult, never-before-done test on one of the Hubble Space Telescopes new solar array panels. Two of these panels, or arrays, will be installed by astronauts in November 2001, when the Space Shuttle Columbia visits Hubble on a routine service mission. The test will ensure that the new arrays are solid and vibration free before they are installed on orbit.
Published: 19 October 2000
An ancient castle looks over ESA's VILSPA establishment, huddled inthe hills on the outskirts of Madrid. Its medieval stonework is thefirst to receive the early morning sunlight, then the line ofEuropean flags and the large white antennae which point skywards. On10 December last, one of these big dishes followed XMM-Newton as itclimbed into orbit.
Published: 19 October 2000
Ominously-named "Cataclysmic Variables" - CVs for short - are not the kind of solar systems one would like to approach. End points of stellar evolution, they are binary systems in which one star is sucking material out of its partner. They revolve around each other very rapidly, typically every few hours. CVs can also exhibit outbursts on the time scale of weeks to months. XMM-Newton has been observing one such cataclysmic variable, named OY Car.
Published: 19 October 2000
ESA XMM-Newton X-ray observatory, launched last December and now in its routine phase of observations, has a field of view large enough that whilst observing known targets it is also registering X-ray emission from many other objects in the neighbouring area of the sky.
Published: 19 October 2000
Ulysses has helped to set another record. On 31 January this year, the intrepid spacecraft detected the most distant gamma-ray burst ever recorded.Other spacecraft also picked up the burst, enabling astronomers to estimate its position in the sky using triangulation methods. A message was sent to ground-based telescopes and shortly afterwards the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile identified the optical counterpart - a rapidly-fading source of visible light in the southern constellation of Carina.
Published: 19 October 2000
Galaxies in the Universe are often to be found in clusters. Our own Milky Way is a member of a small cluster of galaxies, the Local Group. But clusters also exist that contain thousands of galaxies. XMM-Newton has obtained a remarkably vivid mosaic of one of the most famous of these, the Coma cluster.
Published: 17 October 2000
The Cluster quartet, Salsa, Samba, Rumba and Tango, are now flying in their final orbit around the Earth in tetrahedral formation. Over the next few months all scientific instruments onboard the spacecraft will be gradually brought to life. The same instrument on each spacecraft will be switched on, one after another. Over a period of three months, starting on 23 August 2000, the instruments will undergo a series of health and calibration checks. By early December all 44 instruments on the four spacecraft will be operational and ready to start the scientific mission.
Published: 16 October 2000
At its 92nd meeting, on 11-12 October 2000, ESA's Science Programme Committee took the final step to consolidate the future of the science programme by unanimously endorsing the recommendations of the Space Science Advisory Committee of 15 September, which proposed a package to be implemented in the years 2008-2013.
Published: 13 October 2000
At a formal handover in Madrid on 10 October, ESA's Integral project has taken delivery the flight-model of the gamma-ray observatory's Optical Monitor Camera (OMC) from Spain's Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aerospacial (INTA). In two weeks, prime contractor Alenia will start installing the camera on the spacecraft. Integral's Proton launch is set for April 2002.
Published: 11 October 2000
This delicate Hubble Space Telescope image shows a tiny portion of the Cygnus loop, a supernova remnant in the constellation of Cygnus, the Swan. Measurements on this super-detailed image of a cosmic veil shows that the original supernova explosion took place only 5000 years ago.
Published: 10 October 2000
ESA Press Release no. 58-2000On Friday 13 October, ESAs Director of Science Prof. Roger Bonnet will announce the next future scientific missions to be flown in the period 2008-2013.
Published: 10 October 2000
On 6 October 1990, the Ulysses spacecraft was launched. Today, ten years later, the international band of scientists attending the 34th ESLAB symposium are concluding proceedings with their sense of excitement and eager anticipation undimmed. The meeting has heard of numerous observations, made over recent months, that are leading to new insights about the behaviour of the Sun and the heliosphere at solar maximum. Many speakers have looked forward to further observations over the next four years as the solar cycle returns to minimum.
Published: 6 October 2000
During an extensive in-flight end-to-end telecommunications test conducted in early February 2000, characteristics of ESA's Huygens-Cassini communications link were observed which had not been previously measured. The test was a more extensive calibration at system level than the one which had previously been undertaken.The outcome of the link characteristics would be that not all the data generated during the descent and landing would be decoded by the Huygens receivers on-board Cassini.
Published: 5 October 2000
Many new and tantalising results were discussed yesterday, during the third day of the 34th ESLAB symposium on the 3D heliosphere at solar maximum. Here is a selection:
Published: 5 October 2000
Its really exciting how different the solar wind is this time compared with the first orbit, David McComas from the Los Alamos National Laboratory told the 34th ESLAB symposium on the heliosphere yesterday morning. His observation was repeated by many of the speakers: however you look at the solar wind or corona, theres evidence of far more solar activity now than during Ulysses first south polar passage in 1994.
Published: 5 October 2000
If the Voyager spacecraft are ever to cross the heliospheres boundary, they will probably do so within the next year or two before the effects of this years solar maximum cause the heliosphere to expand. Ed Stone from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California, told an international gathering of solar scientists yesterday afternoon, that the two spacecraft are now probably closer to the boundary, which estimates put at 80-115 Astronomical Units (AU) from the Sun, than the 16 AU distance between them.
Published: 4 October 2000
A programme to monitor large numbers of stars resembling the Sun couldgive a new perspective on solar effects on the Earth's climate,according to Eugene Parker of the University of Chicago. He was summingup the conference on "The Solar Cycle and Terrestrial Climate" held lastweek on the Spanish island of Tenerife (25-29 September). Two hundredsolar and climate scientists from many countries part in the meeting,which was sponsored by the European Union and the European Space Agency.
Published: 2 October 2000
As the Ulysses spacecraft hurtles through space towards the Suns south pole, more than 100 scientists from 16 countries will be speeding their way through airspace next week towards ESTEC, ESAs technical centre near Amsterdam. They will converge to discuss the very latest results from the intrepid spacecraft.
Published: 29 September 2000
Bringing a single spacecraft into operation is quite a complex procedure. Simultaneously commissioning four scientific spacecraft can be a logistical nightmare.Sandro Matussi, Cluster spacecraft operations manager at the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, found time to describe how things wereprogressing, one month into the three-month-long commissioning phase of ESA's unique mission toexplore the magnetosphere.
Published: 28 September 2000
24-Sep-2021 12:01 UT

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